Third wheel syndrome: And other awkward aspects of being the ‘single one.’



Recently I went to coffee with a few girlfriends. The conversation (as it so usually does) turned to boys, which each girl sharing a humorous or loving story about their partner to general murmurs of agreement. It was one of those situations, where one person tells a story, and the next follows on with a tidbit about their life etc. After all girls shared a story about their significant other, all eyes stared in my direction; it was my turn. I cleared my throat and blurted out some weird story about my computer Max. See the problem here is – I don’t have a boyfriend or a cute story to tell about a significant other, and the only thing that does sleep with me every night is Max the Mac.

Everyone knows being the only single one in a group of friends isn’t the best time. Sure the grass is always greener on the other side la-de-da, but there does come a point in social situations where being single is particularly awkward, even if you’re completely okay with that decision. Whether it’s those lonely nights when all your housemates have boys over, and you’re forced to retire to your room with only Harry Potter to keep you company, or those coffee catch ups where you simply have nothing to contribute to the conversation because your love-life is about as good as the Britney Spears movie ‘Crossroads’ (read; terrible).

It’s not like I’m a bitter old shrew that doesn’t like hearing stories about my friends love-lives. It’s just when the conversation is monopolised by talks of their relationship, it’s kind of hard to contribute anything substantial. “I never get to see my boyfriend,” one friend sighed once after a steady hour of talking about him, while her boyfriend was going through a busy work time. “I never get to see mine either,” I replied awkwardly. Mainly because he doesn’t exist.

Without further ado, here are the potential irksome traits when it comes to coupled-up friends that may grate on your single nerves.

1) When ‘I’ becomes ‘We’: 


Me: “So what did you think about the movie?”
Friend: “Oh we didn’t like it. We thought it was quite pretentious.”

Wow, look a double opinion for the price of one. I forgot when you got coupled up that you couldn’t express your own train of thought. God forbid when couples get a joint Facebook account. That is one thing I definitely don’t understand.

2) The ones that are incapable of spending any time apart: 

There’s also the issue of the couple who ‘can’t do anything apart.’ Nothing is more frustrating than wanting to catch up for some serious one on one time with a friend, only to get a ‘we’ll be there soon text!’ and voila, you find yourself the third wheel on a date. Or the girls night out, that is subsequently ruined by a dancing boyfriend bopping up to your circle because it’s been 3 whole hours and ‘I just miss him so much!’

Even looking really good without a shirt on won't make you exempt from third wheel syndrome.

Even looking really good without a shirt on won’t make you exempt from third wheel syndrome.

3) The ‘I’ve got a boyfriend, now I’ll drop off the face of the earth’: 

Sometimes there’s that friend you get tempted to report missing, or start sticking up flyers of their face around town, because they go AWOL as soon as they get into a relationship. Just before you get to those drastic measures however, they pop up in tears after another failed relationship, and you become their new significant other. Until another couple months later where they go missing again, because they’re in the blissful throes of a new passion. Used and abused. See you sometime in the future I guess.

4) The ‘I’ll set you up with his friend! He’s also single!’

Look, I’m glad you’re all loved up, don’t get me wrong, but I’m okay with being single. In fact I’m more than okay with it.
“But my boyfriend has a friend who’s also single! We can double date, it’ll be fun!”

Being single is not a disease I need to be cured from. And a double date sounds like a potentially horrendous idea to me. Exchanging awkward small talk with a stranger while you and your boyfriend share in jokes and lusty eyes over dessert. Look, I think I’ll pass.

Being in a relationship isn’t a bad thing in the slightest. There are amazing perks. Just like there are perks of being single.  A lot of the time your coupled up friends may be secretly jealous of your single and ready to mingle lifestyle (or single, ready to pringle, no judgement). What it comes down to ultimately is balance: I love hearing your stories about your life, so at least pretend like you care about mine. Even if I don’t have a male I want to consistently talk about that isn’t Ryan Gosling.

Article by Tahlia Pritchard, who gets too tempted to pick the pringle over the mingle option, and can’t sustain any sort of romantic relationship to save herself. For more sad and pathetic stories, you can follow her on twitter here. 


9 thoughts on “Third wheel syndrome: And other awkward aspects of being the ‘single one.’

  1. I had forgotten about that movie. Not seen it in like, forever! I think there’s a good reason why…

    I hear you with the third wheel. Although I have a horrible feeling that when I was with my fiance, I made people feel a bit like that. Including my mum, who is single, at times :/

    Maybe look for some more single friends? There’s only one girl in my friendship group that’s coupled up at the minute and he’s one of our friends too so we’re a lucky bunch with the third-wheel situ. Perhaps if you could take another singe gal along at these meetings it would be more fun for you?

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  4. I think you’re a bitchy friend who needs to give the friend some space… They still love you they obviously enjoy spending time with their significant other just like some people are very solitary and like spending time alone. Why is there no drama if it’s just another friend?

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